Nutrition & Exercise Smoothie The Combination for Inspiration

Delicious & Healthy Desserts You Can Make Quickly

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desserts

Delicious AND Healthy Desserts? Isn’t that an oxymoron? No, Never. So many healthy recipes taste delicious, and I’m here to share two of my favorites with you. I’ve made these for parties (and for myself) and they’re a big hit, take minimal time and taste so good! The best part is, who wants to turn that oven on in this heat? These require NO baking!

An easy one that you can make as you want it, is this one:

blueberries My Berry Tarts.

Buy a Keebler Ready-Crust Mini Graham Cracker Pie Crust (I think they’re $1.oo!) and whenever you’re in the mood, plop some Vanilla Greek Yogurt in, some berries of your choice, and voila! You can even drizzle a little chocolate syrup on top if you want.

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Another great one, is this Mini Berry Cream Pies.

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Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup whipping cream
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1/4 cup nonfat vanilla Greek yogurt
  • 15 frozen mini phyllo cups (1.9-ounce package)
  • 15 fresh blueberries
  • 15 fresh raspberries

phyllo

PREPARATION

Beat cream in a small bowl until soft peaks form. Add sugar; beat until stiff. Fold in yogurt. Divide the yogurt cream among phyllo cups, keeping the cups in their plastic tray. Top each with 1 blueberry and 1 raspberry. Serve immediately, or chill for up to 4 hours.

That’s it! Cold, sweet, & easy to make.

Have a party and need to bring a dessert that doesn’t look like you stopped at your local 7-11? Don’t know how to bake? Too hot to cook something? Need something quick? These 2 are perfect, AND healthy. Enjoy!

What’s your favorite healthy dessert? Want to share any recipes?

I love hearing from you!

CHRISTINE ARDIGO – Author of Cheating to SurviveEvery Five Years & The Bridges Before Us

The greatest compliment you can give me is when you share this with others.
I sincerely appreciate it:

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The Power of Protein Shakes

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final protein shakes

Protein Shakes.

I had a few people tell me that didn’t like oatmeal (neither did I until I tried Steel Cut Oats instead of the ones that come in a pouch.) So I suggested protein shakes and surprisingly, I got a lot of:

  • How do you make protein shakes?
  • I don’t know what to put in them
  • What if I can’t drink regular milk?
  • Where do I get the fruit from?

Um, okay. So, let’s start from the beginning. Protein shakes are a great way to get a ton of nutrients in you pre & post workouts, for meal replacements, and when you don’t feel like cooking and cleaning up a mess from a big, elaborate meal! The best part about them: you can put ANYTHING in them. Any…thing.

What you need:
A Blender
blener
-Ha Ha! That’s it!

You don’t need a Nutri Bullet, Nutri Ninja, a Juicer, VitaMix, or any other expensive machine. Where would you store it anyway? Don’t you have enough gadgets? Isn’t cabinet space in the kitchen limited enough?

I’m going to make the ingredients interesting, delicious, and fun. We’re going to pretend we’re at a Chinese restaurant and you’re going to to choose 1 item from each column. Or 2. Or 3. Because it’s all up to you!

Liquid: I usually use regular milk, but you can use:

  • Soy milk, Coconut milk, Almond milk, Water, Coconut water, Coconut milk, or any Juice. (the calories and carbs pile up pretty quickly with juice though, so I’d go for water instead.) Also regular milk has more protein than all the other milks.

Protein: I use 100% Whey Protein powder (no carbs or fat) but you can also try:

  • Greek yogurt (plain or vanilla). Almond, Cashew or Peanut butter. I’ve even heard people using Silken Tofu, Tahini, and Cottage cheese.

Fruit: Anything goes with this one. Honestly.

  • Everything from berries, papaya, bananas, mangoes, melons, pineapple, to peaches, pears, apples, kiwi, dragon fruit…I can go on & on. Try one you love that I haven’t mentioned and let me know how it tastes!

Veggies: I know what you’re thinking. Ew! But there’s so much sweet fruit added you don’t even taste them!

  • Spinach, Kale, Carrots, Cucumber, and Zucchini.

Healthy Fats: Fat is not bad. It will keep you full longer. Just choose healthy fats.

  • Avocado, Nut-butters, Chia seeds, Hemp seeds, Ground Flaxseed.

Make it Spicy: Any of your favorite spices can be added. What do you love?

  • Cinnamon, Nutmeg, Mint leaf or Mint extract, Ginger, Allspice, Cardamon, Vanilla or Almond Extract.

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I know what your next question is: “But Christine!  How do I know what combinations work well together?” You don’t actually. Hee hee. But it’s fun to try new combinations. Remember the strongest flavors will come out on top. Don’t add a TBSP of nutmeg unless you want a mouthful of it. And, bananas or peanut butter will always override the taste of things with less flavor like flaxseed or spinach. But, of course, I will give you some great combos here!

 

My favorite one reminds me of a tropical getaway, so I’ll call it:

Christine’s Island Getaway
pineapple

  1. 8oz Coconut milk
  2. 1/2 cup Pineapple – frozen
  3. 1/2 cup Mangoes – frozen
  4. 1 scoop Whey protein powder
  5. Dollop of Vanilla Greek yogurt
  6. 1/2 TBSP of Flaxseed
  7. Sprinkle unsweetened Coconut on top if desired

 

Another is full of berries so I’ll call it:

Berry Blast Off
strawberry

  1. 8oz Milk (of your choice)
  2. Blueberries, Raspberries, Strawberries – frozen
  3. 1 scoop Whey Protein Powder
  4. Dollop of Vanilla Greek Yogurt
  5. 1/2 TBSP of Chia Seeds

 

Elvis Would love this one so…

Peanut Butter & Banana Burnin’ Love
elvis

  1. 8oz Milk (of your choice)
  2. 1 Frozen Banana
  3. TBSP Peanut butter
  4. 1 scoop Whey Protein Powder
  5. 1/2 TBSP of Flaxseed

 

How ’bout going green?

Kermit the Frog Green Smoothie
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  1. 8oz Almond milk
  2. Handful of Spinach
  3. 1 Frozen Banana
  4. 2 Pitted Dates
  5. 1/2 TBSP Chia seeds
  6. TBSP Almond Butter

 

Saw this one online:

Carrot Cake Protein Shake:

cake

  1. 8oz Carrot Juice (you can also make your own!)
  2. 1 scoop Vanilla Protein Powder
  3. 1/4 tsp Ground Ginger
  4. 1/2 tsp Cinnamon

 

Need Coffee in the mornin’ to get you started?

Coffee Protein Shake
cofffe

  1. 1/2 cup Almond Milk
  2. ½ cup (chilled overnight) Brewed Coffee
  3. 1 scoop Vanilla Protein Powder
  4. 1 Frozen Banana
  5. Drop of Almond or Hazelnut Extract if desired

 

Okay, so there’s a few to get you started. Which ones were your favorite?
I love hearing from you!

Want more. Here’s a website with 13 Quick & Easy Protein Shakes.  My favorite is #5!

 

CHRISTINE ARDIGO – Author of Cheating to SurviveEvery Five Years & The Bridges Before Us

The greatest compliment you can give me is when you share this with others.
I sincerely appreciate it:

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Are you Holistically Hot? You Can Be!

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3DBookCover-updated (1)Your Holistically Hot Transformation by Marissa Vicario

Pre-sale (May 22 – June 5)

My friend Marissa Vicario just released her first book, a wonderful account of her personal journey toward becoming Holistically Hot (aka healthy, fit and balanced), without resorting to deprivation or fad diets. If you or someone you know struggles with confusion around nutrition, yo-yo dieting and self-judgment you’ll definitely want to check this book out! Available now on Kindle & for print pre-order at http://bit.ly/HHTransformation

If you’re tired of fad diets, confused about conflicting nutrition information and sick of negative self-talk and judgment every time you “slip up” or “get off track,” this is THE book for you! Your Holistically Hot Transformation by Integrative Health Coach and Women’s Lifestyle Expert, Marissa Vicario, is available for pre-order through June 5th. With your purchase you get TONS of free goodies like

  1. Marissa’s 3-Minute Breakfasts eBook,
  2. A gorgeous downloadable meal planner,
  3. A signed copy of the book and more.

Please share this post if you have friends who would benefit from this book as well! Trust yourself to make slimming, nutritious and energizing choices without fad diets. Marissa Vicario’s new book is a great resource!

I personally read her book and think it’s not only a great resource, but the behavioral, motivational, and inspirational real-life tips at the end of the book are perfect for everyone that knows what to do, just can’t get their head to participate in the journey.

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So, what do you think? What prevents you from reaching your goals?

I love hearing from you!

CHRISTINE ARDIGO – Author of Cheating to SurviveEvery Five Years & The Bridges Before Us

The greatest compliment you can give me is when you share this with others.
I sincerely appreciate it:

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Yummy & Nutritious BBQ Ideas

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BBQ tips

Barbeques!

When most people think of BBQ’s, the first thought that comes to mind is fatty meats, greasy appetizers, sugary desserts and calorie-loaded drinks. How are you supposed to stick to your diet when you’re hosting one? Or attending one? But there are many delicious, healthy alternatives that will leave you and your guests full, yet feeling satisfied. For your next BBQ cook up some of these delicious meals, or bring some to your next BBQ. Inspire others to cook & eat healthy, too.

I always tell people to pick their poison. If you can only eat your Aunt Bertha’s delicious potato salad once a year at the family BBQ, eat it. But, don’t choose things that you can get all the time, like chips, store bought macaroni salad, the typical hot dog, etc. Also, eat a little before you go. I hate arriving at someone’s home starving, and there’s no food to be found for the first hour except a bowl of cheese doodles. Right? Eat a small, healthy snack before you go and then choose your menu items carefully.

Instead of the usual burgers, hot dogs, sausages, and the classic potato and macaroni salads, why not come up with some new ideas?

  • Grill chicken breasts or thighs.
  • You can try turkey fillets, and all kinds of fish like salmon, swordfish, and shrimp.
  • Start a new trend. Buy a few bison or turkey burgers or turkey tenderloins. Cook them up and then cut into pieces and serve with toothpicks for your guests to sample—they might have it at their next BBQ.

Kabobs! final kabob

Kabobs are easy and you can be as creative as you like. Anything goes. Look in your fridge and see what you have lying around:

  • Meat: Chicken, steak, salmon, swordfish, shrimp, even Tofu!
  • Veggies: Cherry tomatoes, zucchini, peppers, onions, button mushrooms.
  • Fruit: Pineapple, peaches, nectarines, apples.

Speaking of Veggies…final veggies

You can throw them directly on the grill. Just spray the grill with extra virgin olive oil cooking spray.

  • Ever try roasted Cauliflower or grilled asparagus?
  • Roast corn on the cob, whole portobello mushrooms, and even eggplant.
  • Cut a vidalia onion in half and cook face down.
  • Slice sweet potatoes in half and do the same.

Speaking of Fruits…final fruit

Want a great, delicious, nutritious, low-cal dessert? How do these look? Grill fruit kabobs on the grill as well.

  • You can even grill whole pineapple slices or bananas in their skins on the BBQ.
  • Make a mixed rainbow-colored fruit salad for dessert with: strawberries, mandarin oranges, mangoes, green grapes and blueberries.
  • Make angel food cake with fresh berries and whipped cream.angel2

Need an idea for a side dish to make or bring to a BBQ?final side dishes

Make fresh spinach salads, 3 bean salads, or a Quinoa salad. Quinoa looks like couscous but is high in protein and fiber. Simply cook as you would for rice. Add a can of rinsed black beans, cherry tomatoes and chopped scallions. Drizzle with a little extra virgin olive oil, lime juice and cilantro and voila!

Here’s my favorite Quinoa recipe: Quinoa Salad with Apples, Walnuts, Dried Cranberries, and Gouda:  http://www.finecooking.com/recipes/quinoa-salad-apples-walnuts-dried-cranberries-gouda.aspx

The trick is a lot of food, not a lot of calories! Remember, the real reason you’re there is to enjoy the company and catch up with family and friends. Not to stuff yourself with thousands of unhealthy calories. Then I’ll have to hear it the next day with: “What do you think about this new Detox Cleanse I heard about.” Ugh. If you ate healthy people, you wouldn’t need to cleanse! (Hee hee)

BBQ tips3

Want more great BBQ Tips? Check out this FREE Webinar by Guiding Stars – “Healthy Grilling

So, what do you think? What will you try at your next BBQ? What was your favorite idea on here? Any others to add?

I love hearing from you!

CHRISTINE ARDIGO – Author of Cheating to SurviveEvery Five Years & The Bridges Before Us

The greatest compliment you can give me is when you share this with others.
I sincerely appreciate it:

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How to Start Your Weekend Off Right

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done

Have a Busy Spring Cleaning Weekend Ahead of You? Start Your Morning Off Right!

I just wanted to share my favorite breakfast with you that is easy to prepare and takes no time. It’s also high in fiber and protein. And, it keeps me going for hours. I start with some Steel Cut Oats…

oatm

They’re nuttier and crunchier than regular flat oatmeal pieces.

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What I love about oatmeal in general is that it’s like making stew. You can throw just about anything in there. I toss in ground flaxseed which I store in my freezer. I also plop in whatever nuts I have in there too: almonds, walnuts. I even sprinkle some unsweetened coconut flakes in there! My favorite way to get more protein in, is to toss in Whey Protein Powder also. I leave the oatmeal a little watery so that when I add the flaxseed and protein powder, it isn’t dry.

oatme

Have leftover, mushy fruit in the fridge and ready to toss it? DON’T! Cut it into pieces and plop it in the hot & steamy oatmeal. You can also store your “getting-yucky-looking” fruit in the freezer in a tupperware container or tiny snack bags and then when you’re ready to make a protein shake you have frozen fruit all ready to use. No need to add ice.

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One Saturday morning before food shopping, I had no fruit left in my house except grapes. I thought “Ugh, I can’t put grapes in my oatmeal!” Or…can I? Hmmm.

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Let me tell you this was the best oatmeal I ever had!  The grapes were so plump, juicy and flavorful! Best…Oatmeal…Eva! I just cut them in half and tossed them in too.

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I pour all the ingredients into the bowl while I’m waiting for the oatmeal to cook. Yes, it takes about 20 minutes, but on a Saturday morning I’m running around cleaning the house and starting laundry anyway, so I have the time. Once the oatmeal is cooked, I pour the hot stuff into the bowl and mix all those healthy ingredients around. Cooked it too long? No problem, just add a little milk to thin it out.

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YUM!  Now you’re all ready for the gym, that run outside, or to tackle your garden! Enjoy the weekend knowing you started the day with proper nutrition!

What’s your favorite things to add to oatmeal? Have you ever tried Steel Cut oats?

I love hearing from you!

Christine Ardigo Author of Cheating to SurviveEvery Five Years & The Bridges Before Us

 

The greatest compliment you can give me is when you share this with others.
I sincerely appreciate it:

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Give New Energy to Your Weight Loss Plan with Chobani!

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chobani

Chobani Yogurt + Meal Planning + Exercise = Healthy Weight Loss!

As you all know by now, I love Greek Yogurt and recommend it all the time for weight loss, healthier eating, pre & post workout snacks, breakfast options, and as a topping or a condiment replacement. You can use it for just about anything at every meal and snack. The best part: it tastes great and packs a high-protein punch! For those of you that eat it regularly but aren’t sure why it’s so fantastic, or for those that have never tried it, here’s a quick list of some of it’s benefits:

Healthy Benefits of Greek Yogurt

  • Protein! My favorite. Protein is so important in helping you feel full and satisfied after a meal so you don’t grab unhealthy snacks later on. Protein helps build those sexy muscles, too. Regular yogurt contains only 8gms of protein. Greek yogurt has between 10-20gms of protein! As much as 2-3 eggs.
  • Probiotics! Not only does it ensure proper digestion and absorption of the nutrients you’re eating, but it acts as a ‘warrior’ protecting your intestines from bad bacteria that can cause illness and diseases, such as cancer, lactose intolerance and allergic reactions.
  • Calcium! As we age, we tend to drink less milk and therefore, take in less calcium which is important for our bones. Osteoporosis=Bad. Calcium and strength training/weight lifting, will ensure your bones absorb plenty of calcium.
  • High Blood Pressure! Dairy is an important element in the DASH diet (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension). Wouldn’t you rather eat delicious yogurt then take another pill?

vegan-greek-yogurt1

“What a great way to start the morning. Create your own combinations. Add berries, nuts, mangoes, flaxseed!”

Delicious Greek Yogurt Ideas & Recipes

  1. Substitute Plain, Fat-free Greek Yogurt for sour cream in tacos
  2. Use as a dip for veggies or fruit. For fruit: mix in a blender with dried cranberries. For veggies: blend in cucumber and dill, or see dip recipe below.
  3. Drizzle in a little honey, cinnamon, and walnuts for a true Greek dessert.
  4. Make a baked sweet potato even healthier with Plain Greek Yogurt dolloped on top
  5. Roll a banana in yogurt, then in healthy, crunchy cereal. Cut into bite sized pieces. You can freeze it, too!
  6. Dip Strawberries or Apples into Vanilla Greek Yogurt.
  7. Smear a whole grain waffle or pancakes with yogurt, then top with your favorite fruit like diced peaches.
  8. Add to your protein shake in addition to milk. See recipe below.
  9. Add fruit to Greek Yogurt to make it even healthier.  Try mangoes, blueberries, or raspberries.
  10. Use Plain Greek Yogurt in place of mayo on your sandwiches, or in tuna/chicken salad.
  11. “Stuff” French toast slices with Greek Yogurt and strawberries.
  12. Make your own Greek Tzatziki sauce for gyros and chicken souvlaki: http://thehealthyfoodie.com/tzatziki-sauce/

Craving something sweet and unhealthy like doughnuts, cookies, or chocolate? Chobani has a great new line called Chobani Simply 100 Crunch. Why not grab a 100 calorie Greek Yogurt with some crunchy sweetness instead? In addition to the 10gms of protein, it is extremely low in fat, cholesterol, sodium, and only has one carb per serving. You can’t find that in doughnuts. It adds fruit and just a dash of sweetness from yummy things like chocolate, cookies, or waffle pieces. Remember, it’s all about moderation!  You CAN have it all. Healthy food, that tastes great, and some sweets. I tried the Strawberry Chocolate Truffle and it tasted just like a chocolate covered strawberry! A much healthier dessert.

crunch-products

Here’s a great dip. My kids love helping me make this. Like Hummus? Like Edamame? Try:

Edamummus!
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1 1/2 cups cooked, shelled Edamame cooled
2 TBSP fresh squeezed lemon juice
2 medium cloves fresh garlic chopped
1 TBSP fresh flat leaf parsley chopped
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
3 TBSP fat free Plain Greek yogurt
In a food processor combine Edamame, lemon juice, garlic, parsley and salt. Process til mixture is paste like and Edamame is finely chopped. Drizzle olive oil and blend until well mixed. Add yogurt and mix. Serve immediately or refrigerate for up to 3 days. Makes 2 1/2 cups.

Tropical Protein Shake

½ cup frozen Mangoes, diced
½ cup frozen Pineapple, diced
8oz Coconut milk
4oz Plain Greek Yogurt
1 scoop vanilla protein powder
Mix all in a blender, pour and serve.
While you’re at it, make extra and pour into popsicle molds and have a frozen, high protein treat!
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Of course, exercise also plays an important role in keeping your weight under control. While you’re crunching on Chobani Simply 100 Crunch, here’s a cool way to “crunch the numbers” and burn 100 calories by keeping active and having fun. Which is your favorite way to burn calories?
chobani_100cal_12version

Want more Greek Yogurt snack ideas? Want a free coupon to buy Chobani? Visit their Simply 100 website:

http://www.thelightthatsright.com/

Follow the party on Twitter too! #Simply100

So what do you think? Do you eat Greek Yogurt? What’s your favorite way to eat it? Any special recipes?

I love hearing from you!

 

CHRISTINE ARDIGO – Author of Cheating to SurviveEvery Five Years & The Bridges Before Us

The greatest compliment you can give me is when you share this with others.
I sincerely appreciate it:

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New Ways to Eat the Foods You Love

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adammm

Tired of the Same Old Foods?

Want to eat healthy but not sure what else to come up with that fits into your meal plan? Here’s a list of some of your favorite foods and new ways to eat them.

Banana

  1. Add a half banana and cinnamon to a peanut butter sandwich on 2 Kashi waffles
  2. Bake bananas into bread
  3. Cut a banana in half, spread peanut butter on both sides, slap a stick in between, push together, cover in chocolate and freeze
  4. Roll a banana and peanut butter in a whole wheat tortilla
  5. Blend a banana into a protein shake with Greek Yogurt
  6. Add bananas to pancakes
  7. Trifle with bananas, vanilla wafers, and vanilla pudding
  8. Cut bananas into pieces, freeze for 2 hours, blend in blender and eat!  Instant ice cream.

Greek Yogurt

  1. Substitute Greek Yogurt for sour cream on tacos and baked potatoes
  2. Use as a dip for veggies or fruit. For fruit: blend together with dried cranberries. For veggies blend in cucumber and dill
  3. Add to protein shake instead of, or in addition to, milk
  4. Plop in some honey and nuts for a true Greek dessert
  5. Make your own Greek Tzatziki sauce for gyros and chicken souvlaki http://thehealthyfoodie.com/tzatziki-sauce/

vegan-greek-yogurt1

Tuna

  1. Make tuna salad with with plain Greek Yogurt instead of mayo, and add celery, carrots and/or red onion
  2. Add tuna into pasta salad with fresh crunchy veggies
  3. Mix tuna, avocado and some lemon juice and smear onto a whole grain English Muffin, then add a tomato
  4. Tuna Burgers!
  5. Add walnuts or cranberries to your next tuna sandwich

Whole Grain Cereal

  1. Add whole grain cereal, like any Kashi variety, into Greek Yogurt and fresh berries
  2. Crush the cereal and use as a breading for chicken or fish
  3. Mix with dried fruit for a healthy trail mix
  4. Cereal, milk and fruit can make a great dinner!

Sweet Potatoes

  1. Bake sweet potato and top with plain Greek Yogurt and chives
  2. Mash sweet potatoes with cinnamon or nutmeg and finish with topped pecans
  3. Cut and bake into sweet potato fries and sprinkle with cumin or paprika
  4. Sweet potato and spinach quesadillas http://livehautehealthy.com/2013/02/14/dinner-for-two-spinach-sweet-potato-quesadillas/

So, what do you think? What’s your favorite? Any others to add?

I love hearing from you!

CHRISTINE ARDIGO – Author of Cheating to SurviveEvery Five Years & The Bridges Before Us

The greatest compliment you can give me is when you share this with others.
I sincerely appreciate it:

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Goals to Strive For in 2016

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Goals 2016

By Christine Ardigo MSRD

Nutrition & Exercise Goals to Strive For in 2016

Okay, my friends. Holidays are over. Your week-long vacation is over. 2015 is over. Back to work and school tomorrow and a whole, fresh new year is ahead of us. This year will be your year to finally meet your goals. And, I’m right there with you. I know what you’re thinking. Yeah, Christine, how hard could it be for you? You live and breathe it every day, right? Well, no. Not in 2015 at all. Not so much in 2014 either. Why? What? Huh?

As most of you know, I published two books in the summer of 2014, and just completed editing book 3. Many people ask me how I can possibly work full time, raise two daughters, maintain a home, run a Nutrition & Exercise Website, and write books while keeping in shape. The answer is: I can’t. Impossible. (And, I NEED my 8 hours of sleep at night!) Something had to give and it did. My immaculate house is a little less clean, I spent less time with my daughters and friends, AND, exercising was constantly put on hold for my book. Eating healthy all the time, too.

Now granted, I did lift weights here and there, started running on a treadmill and outdoors, and rode my bike over the summer, but, compared to my 7 days a week of exercising, I was lucky if it was once a week.  My butt has left an impression in my desk chair. I’d write for hours, my stomach would growl, and I’d run upstairs and grab a cookie to shut it up. Not good.

I cannot tell you how much I wanted to just finish this book and be done with it. Most importantly, to get back in shape. Starting tomorrow, I am starting the:

21 Day No Junk Food Challenge!

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STEP #1:

I know what you’re thinking: Does Christine even eat this stuff? Well, over the past 2 years, yes. (Especially the chocolate part!) They say it take 3 weeks to break a habit so tomorrow it begins for me. You don’t realize how fast these calories add up, and it takes FOREVER to burn off. (Especially when you’re sitting on you hiney writing.) So, no more. Hopefully I wont crave chocolate anymore after this and less calories means less I have to work off. I have fallen in love with something else!

PicMonkey Collage

I love these suckers!  Plums and mandarins/clementines. I found that after I eat a meal, I hate that residual taste in my mouth, so I’d always reach for a cookie or something sweet to get rid of it. Now I grab one of these. They’re sweet and cleanse my palate and, even better: healthy, less calories, high in fiber. YUM! So, hopefully the added calories from junk will be gone. That is step one for me. Eating healthier, BUYING healthier food for the house, not eating junk.

Step #2

Exercise! I have belonged to gyms for 30 years, I love ’em. I love the music, the fellow exercisers that motivate me and give me great, new ideas, all the billions of machines. What’s not to like? When I transformed my body several years ago, I used to go to the gym on my lunch hour, and that truly was the best time for me with a 1 & 6 year old at home. I did this every single day for 3-4 years, then when I worked at a gym part time as their dietitian, I worked out there, too. I loved it and I was obsessed! But, after four years of rushing out on my lunch hour, and rushing back, I just couldn’t do it anymore. It was draining me. My life had become stressful around then, and I just wanted to rest. Relax. Not run ANYWHERE. I switched to going to the gym after work and this worked for a while, too. Until I started writing my books.

I must say, I love trying new things, and when I fall in love with something, I only want to do that. Like weight lifting, rock climbing, running various races.

exercisecollage

(By the way, I was 41 years old on the left. No excuses!)

Writing became my new passion and that’s all I wanted to do. I’d have my gym clothes in the car, drive within a few blocks of the gym, and then say “No! I’d much rather go home and write that new scene I thought about today.” I tried everything. Working out on weekends. Going directly after work. Working out at home. Biking and running outside. But, nothing would get in the way of writing. Last year, hubby and I bought a home gym for the basement. This was it! We assembled it ourselves and the workout began. I felt great again. February, March, and April I pounded away at the weights. I had two huge reunions coming up in the summer and it was now or never.

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May came and my husband and I were doing so much gardening, ripping out things, relandscaping our entire backyard, and maintaining our pond, that the weights were put on hold. I argued with myself that I was burning so many calories outside, that it was the same as lifting weights. But, by June, I started editing my book. I truly just wanted to finish and get it published, so the weights were put on hold again. I supplemented with jogging and biking around the block. The muscles started to disappear. The muffin top started to appear. Throw in that lovely peri-menopausal “slowing metabolism, while your appetite sores through the roof even though you just ate” and I knew something had to give.

I have almost 3 published books under my belt, but I’ve been miserable. Maybe it was the lack of endorphins I was so used to. Maybe it was my jeans being tighter, my arms not looking as cut, reverting back to old ways of wearing baggy tops (hiding), not being as strong, running out of breath by doing simple things. Who knows, but I had enough. I plan to publish book 3 soon, and I think that will be it. At least for many years. I’ve lost my body, my good mood, time with my family and friends. I kinda want my life back.

So, to jump start my exercise, I had to make a choice. Go back to the gym? Hmm, at this point, winter is here again and I’m not sure I’m ready to jump back into that just yet. Start lifting weights with the full gym again? Sure. I have a great set up downstairs and with the book almost behind me, I have no excuses. But, I missed the atmosphere of the gym, and I know I desperately NEEDED cardio. I am so out of breath I’m angry with myself. I can’t even mop my wood floors without huffing and puffing. So, what did I do? I looked into exercise DVD’s. No, not the ones from the 80’s with leg warmers and 2 lb weights. I needed ones to fit my needs. Ones where they had cardio, but also heavier weights, and fun things like Kick Boxing, and Boot Camp. One without annoying background music or voices that after a while you have to turn the volume off, and play the stereo. Well, after much research I found it:

Cathe

http://shop.cathe.com/ICE-s/119.htm

I bought this 7 DVD collection for myself for Christmas and started doing it every day. Cathe ICE. I love Cathe so far, and she inspires me. The music is a techno sound, but low, and no singing. Her voice is motivating without being too smiley and annoying. There is always one girl in the background that does it with a slower, or less strenuous move. You can choose your own weights. They’re using twelve pounds? Use 3lbs. They’re using 3lbs? Use 10. You can do whatever level you’re at. I hurt my shoulder over the summer while gardening and I learned to not do any moves that involves lifting my arms out like I’m flying. My knees have started to hurt (probably from all the sitting) and I know that I need to do any squat/lunge moves slower. I also lose my breath constantly!  But, the great thing about a DVD? You can pause it and catch your breath as many times as you want. And, if that’s what I need to do in the beginning, I do. Also, if you don’t have time to do the full DVD, do as much as time allows and finish it later, of tomorrow. There are 7 DVD’s so I have 7 different workouts to do every week. Some DVD’s also have bonus tracks (like Ab specific) and you can do those too.

I’m not trying to sell anyone on anything. Just letting you know that there’s always another way, another avenue you can try. My goal is to do these every day and supplement with weights in the basement. I hope to have my body back by the summer. In case you don’t know, there are plenty of Youtube workouts you can do as well. When my legs were hurting really bad from all the sitting, I went to my TV upstairs and Googled “Yoga”, and found a ton to do on my giant screen TV.

As a present to you guys, I pledge to post more often. I went from twice a month, to once a month, and now I haven’t posted in almost 2 months. I miss it and I think it will motivate you and me. I might even post quick, short ones here and there to keep you on your toes. If you’d like daily motivational tips, please join my Facebook Page, where I post a little something EVERY day.

So, what are your Healthy Goals for 2016? Share some on here so we can all be motivated. Do you have specific ones? Any tricks any tips?

I love hearing from you!

CHRISTINE ARDIGO – Author of Cheating to Survive & Every Five Years

The greatest compliment you can give me is when you share this with others.
I sincerely appreciate it:

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My Favorite Meal Plans & Snack Ideas

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My Favorite Meal Plans & Snack Ideas

Let’s start with the one above. Maybe it’s the colors. Maybe it’s the artistic designs. But, I love this visual from Parents Magazine for alternative sandwich ideas. I can’t bear to toss it, although I’ve posted it before. I have piles of Nutrition articles and colorful handouts, but this cute little guy always catches my eye. Great sandwich ideas too! Give one a try this week.

 

meal plan 2

This was actually one of my meal plans that I wrote up. I don’t remember what computer system I was using, but you were able to input everything you ate in a day and it would print this out for you. This was basically what I ate while I was trying to drop my body fat down. (I eat 2 Whole eggs now, though, in the morning.) 

Here is Another One: (I use Steel Cut Oats, but couldn’t find it in this computer system). 

meal plan 1

 

Here’s another ‘cute’ little thing I’ve saved over the years. Again, the artistic designs and colors grab me, but it won’t let me throw it out. Every few years I find it and it makes me laugh. I have no idea where I got this from. It must be over 7 years old.

Meal Plan 3

 

I love this visual. Tired of eating “lame-snacks”? Have a Mini-Meal instead. Same calories but you feel like you’re eating something more substantial. 

 

meal plan 4

 

Last one. High Fiber means a lot of things to different people. I have SO many people tell me they eat a lot of fiber and when they give me their daily recall, they’ve eaten 4 baby carrots and some instant oatmeal. No. No. No. Here is a great visual of 3 different Fiber intakes, and how to make yours better. 

meal plan 6

Mmmm. Much better, eh? Big difference. Try to increase your fiber intake this week and let’s see how you do.

Okay, so I hope my little walk down Nutrition-Memory-Lane from my piles of papers helped you again. There’s some great tips here to make some positive changes today. What do you think?

I love hearing from you!

CHRISTINE ARDIGO – Author of Cheating to Survive & Every Five Years

The greatest compliment you can give me is when you share this with others.
I sincerely appreciate it:

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Happy & Healthy School Lunches

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Nutritious, Delicious and Kid Friendly School Lunches

I hope everyone enjoyed their summer, and the school year is going well, so far. This post is dedicated to healthy school lunches and snacks to start this year off right. You have all weekend to plan, shop, and cook!

I actually love when there’s nothing on the school menu for my daughter to eat. Then I can pack her lunch and know that it will be healthier than:

  1. Cheese and Pepperoni Stromboli
  2. Turkey and Mashed Potatoes topped with Nacho Cheese
  3. Meatball Dunkers with Sauce

It also gives me the opportunity to be creative and have a little fun. With childhood obesity increasing, and the money in our wallets decreasing, it’s a great way to provide healthy, less expensive foods. 2/3 of their meal should be fruits, veggies, and whole grains. The other 1/3: lean proteins. Cut foods up into tiny pieces so they won’t waste time doing it themselves. Foods they can pop in their mouths are fun.

 Kabobs

You can basically put anything on a skewer and how much fun is it to eat! Try these combos:

Breakfast

  • French Toast triangles, Peach slices
  • Waffle pieces, Strawberries, Blueberries

Lunch

  • Grilled Chicken pieces, Broccoli and Carrots
  • Shrimp, Snow Peapods, Yellow Pepper strips
  • Turkey slices, Apple wedges

319383_513793095302963_1937870441_n Live Well with Lynn

Wraps

  • Roll up Peanut Butter and Bananas in a Whole Wheat wrap
  • Roll up Turkey slices, Spinach and part-skim milk Mozzarella Cheese
  • Roll up American Cheese and Tomatoes

1620478_10201482252074334_980162669_n                 St. Patrick’s Day Lunch

Sandwiches

  • Swap plain old white bread and rolls for Whole Grain English Muffins, Tortillas, Pitas, mini Bagels, and Triscuits
  • Swap mayo for plain Greek Yogurt
  • Swap sugary Jelly for Bananas and Berries in Peanut Butter Sandwiches
  • Swap homemade trail mix for chips Recipes: http://greatist.com/health/21-healthier-trail-mix-ideas

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Miscellaneous

All of these pictures were from my friend Jeannine Z and her crafty creations. Make lunch fun for your kids and they’ll be excited to eat. You may not have time to do these lunch creations every day, but once or twice a week or even on special occasions or holidays is entirely doable. If you still don’t have time, throw in a silly note, some stickers, a tiny toy or plastic flower, a fancy napkin or use cookie cutters to cut the fruit, veggies and sandwiches into fun shapes once in a while.

jeannine1Valentine’s Day Lunch

P.S. Because I love Kabobs so much, I will add a few more for snack time and dinner:

  1. Meatballs, Raviolis and Zucchini Kabob
  2. Sweet & Sour Chicken, pineapple, and Red Pepper Strips on a kabob
  3. Angel Food cake, Strawberries and Blueberries on a kabob
  4. Bananas dipped in yogurt and then dipped in Low Fat Granola or crushed Chocolate pieces on a kabob
  5. Apple, Brown Rice-Cakes smeared with Peanut Butter kabobs

P.S. My all time, FAVORITE, school lunches. You gotta check these out! http://www.parents.com/kids/nutrition/lunch/healthy-school-lunches-snacks/

P.S.S For those with a lot more time on their hands then me: Gotta love this one: http://reductress.com/post/bento-boxes-that-will-establish-your-dominance-over-other-moms/

What are some of your favorite lunches to make for your kids? Let me Know!
I love hearing from you!

CHRISTINE ARDIGO – Author of Cheating to Survive & Every Five Years

The greatest compliment you can give me is when you share this with others.
I sincerely appreciate it:

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From Couch to Gym: An Author’s Path to Fitness!

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1 Jay Walking Tour Banner

Today, I bring you a special guest. My good friend and author, Tracy Krimmer. She has a brand new romance novel that revolves around Nutrition & Exercise and she’s excited to tell you about it. I loved her first book: Caching In, and I especially love how all her books have a fitness related theme. You know I’m all over that! Because of that, and her inspirational story, I bring you her tale of Positive Change:

“Thunder Thighs, Thunder Thighs. Here comes Thunder Thighs! Boom! Boom! Boom!”

I was in sixth grade and Sal (named changed for some reason to protect the jerk) was the new kid on the block – and apparently thought I was fat.

I grew up in a small town and my parents lived in a tiny neighborhood. Often I would take walks to the grocery store or gas station to spend my allowance on little stuff. Whenever I approached Sal’s house, these words exploded from his mouth. He laughed hysterically. Sure, funny for him. Not so much for a twelve-year-old girl.

elephantI’ll be honest. In grade school and high school I wasn’t overweight. Through my teen years, my five foot two (barely) frame hovered around 120-125 pounds. Most of the weight I carried found home on my backside. It still lives there, having formed a community of fat and cellulite. In my twenties, my weight started fluctuating all the way up to 175 (a little over 200 if you include pregnancy weight).

Sal’s comments bothered me, but never to a point I created a dangerous situation of dieting or not eating at all. I came to terms with my weight and it wasn’t until years later I got serious about my fitness and nutrition. But it wasn’t on anyone else’s terms other than mine. I won’t lie – Sal’s words hurt me, but I didn’t get fit because of one jerk.

If I had to pinpoint when it all began, I’d say 2009. Over the years, I had been in and out of “moments” of working out. I’d commit for a week or join Curves for a month, maybe try Jazzercise with a friend. It wasn’t until my husband introduced me to P90X and Beachbody that I found something I loved.

Fast forward to today and I’ve completed P90X, P90X3, Bikini Body Mommy 1.0, 2.0, and 3.0 and now I’m in the depths of Slim in 6. In between there I’ve done workouts with Sharon Mann, Jillian Michaels, Gilad, and a few others. I completed one round of C25K as well. I also lost over twenty pounds doing Weight Watchers and learned so much about portion control.

A lovely chicken & strawberry salad my husband made me.

A lovely chicken & strawberry salad my husband made me.

These days I’m working out and focusing on nutrition. I have a FitBit, which I love, and also record my meals. I eat much more chicken and fish than in the past, and no longer eat macaroni and cheese. I used to be able to eat almost an entire box of it!

A lot of people compliment me on my commitment to working out, but it comes easily to me now. It’s something I love to do and feel out of sorts if I don’t do it, much like my writing. When I wrote my new book, Jay Walking, I wanted the book to be about a mom finding her passion for fitness while still loving herself. I’m well aware I have a kangaroo pouch and I probably always will. My stomach is tattooed with stretch marks, and I really don’t care. I care that I’m fit, healthy, and setting a good example. I can choose to sit on the sidelines, or I can get up off the couch and move. It wasn’t always easy for me, and some say working out isn’t for them. That’s fine. Our passions are different. The most important thing about all this is commitment. Find something you love and commit, and you’ll be happy you did. I promise.

And Thunder Thighs? She’s still here. Just stronger.

jaywalking_cover_loveYou can purchase my new book, Jay Walking, for only $2.99 during the book tour. On August 16th, the price goes to $3.99.

Synopsis:

Chelsea Wyatt, a single mom trying to build a life for her and her son, is sick of the body she sees in the mirror. A daily diet of Cookie Crisp cereal is not doing wonders for her mood or her figure, and it’s time for a change. Setting out to get fit, she commits herself to a daily walking plan, forcing herself to give up her all-sugar and carb diet, a difficult task at her donut obsessed job.

But her plan goes sideways when a stumble on the ice puts her in the arms of Jay, an attractive young man out on a run. They grab coffee together, and Chelsea finds herself thinking about him long after their short meeting. The thought of dating again hadn’t crossed her mind in years, and she doesn’t even know if Jay is available, or if he would be interested in her despite her unfit body.

Just when she has a handle on her new routine, her past catches up with her, throwing her blossoming relationship with Jay and the rest of her life into chaos. Can Chelsea hold onto the people she loves most, or will a wrong turn set her up for failure?

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

iBooks

Kobo

There’s also a giveaway! Enter here to win a signed paperback copy of Caching In, the first Pastime Pursuits novel, and a Wilson headband:

Enter the Rafflecopter to win! US Residents only!

Enter the Rafflecopter to win! US Residents only!

Click here for a Rafflecopter giveaway

About Tracy Krimmer:

Tracy’s love of writing began at nine years old. She wrote stories about aliens at school, machines that did homework for you, and penguins. Now she pens books and short stories about romance. She loves to read a great book, whether it be romance or science fiction, or any genre in between, or pop popcorn and catch up on her favorite TV shows or movies. She’s been known to crush a candy or two as well. Her first romance novel, Pieces of it All, released in May 2014 followed in December with Caching In, a romance mixed with the hobby of geocaching. She also has written several short stories.

Find her online at www.tracykrimmer.com, Facebook, or Twitter.

Thank you so much, Tracy.
Any questions for her? You know I love hearing from you!

Christine Ardigo – Author of Cheating to Survive, Every Five Years, and part of the Peace, Love & Romance Anthology

Both_Books_3D_Facebook_Cover_Art REAL ONE

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Beware of Fake Nutrition Claims on Food Labels

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fake foods

Fake Nutrition Claims on Food Labels

I’m not a salesman, but if I wanted you to buy my food product, I would say whatever I wanted to GET you to buy it. Especially if there was just a news story covering some exciting new breakthrough. Everywhere you go, you see low-fat, low-sugar, no trans-fats, no cholesterol, all natural, etc. But many of these foods never had these things in them to begin with, and many take one item out to put another one in.

All Natural

What does that even mean? A lot of things are ‘naturally’ occurring but would you eat them? How ’bout some Arsenic pie? Yum! But hey! It’s all natural. Natural just means it was not chemically made, but it still can be a product that’s high in calories, or low in nutrients. Ignore this claim.

Cholesterol-Free

Many of us are watching our cholesterol, but did you know that many of the products with this claim, never HAD cholesterol? Cholesterol only comes from animals, (meats, eggs, seafood, dairy) so something like potato chips (that come from the ground) never had cholesterol!  What they fail to mention is that the product is extremely high in fat and salt. But hey, don’t worry: there’s no cholesterol in here! If it comes from an animal, it’ll have it. If it came from the ground, it never did.

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Low-Fat – Low-Sugar 

Unfortunately, for many processed, packaged foods, they need to make the end product taste good. So, they either need to add sugar, or fat. (or salt). Guess what? When they take one out, they add the other. They won’t tell you that, but trust me, when the fat comes out they add a ton of sugar and vice versa. (I’m still talking about processed foods. When they remove fat from things like milk and yogurt, they just remove the fat). Or worse, they add weird additives, chemicals and food-alternatives to make up for the missing consistency. Stick with REAL food and just eat less of it.

Low-Sodium

Again, depending on the food, this may mean nothing. Sometimes it’s just good ol’ less salt being added. Sometimes the item never had salt. Sometimes, there is “less” salt, but it can still be very high in fat and calories, like chips. No-Salt-Added or Unsalted → just mean no salt is added during processing, but not necessarily sodium-free. Reduced Sodium → just means at least 25% less sodium than in the original product, but the original product could be extremely high in salt! Here’s a better guide. Shoot for less than 2,400mg of sodium a day.

  • Salt/Sodium-Free → Less than 5 mg of sodium per serving
  • Very Low Sodium → 35 mg of sodium or less per serving
  • Low Sodium → 140 mg of sodium or less per serving

Organic

Organic just let’s you know how the food was grown and processed. It can still be high in sodium, fat and sugar. Read the Label.

what-s-greener-when-it-comes-to-veg_2531026

Multiple Grains

Another claim that means nothing. Multiple what-kind-of-grains? 7 grain bread may sound healthy, but it can be several lame grains that are refined and mixed together. Also if it says “made with whole grains” it might have 1% whole grains and the other 99% can be refined. It must say 100% whole grain, or 100% whole wheat. Look for the percentage and the word “whole”.

Good Source of Something

This is a big joke. Ice cream and cheese  are a good source of calcium, but should you eat tons of it? No. Juices may be a good source of Vitamin C, but it can still be extremely high in sugar AND they might have added the Vitamin C to begin with! They could add calcium to things like waffles, and if you are lactose intolerant, that may be a way for you to get your calcium, but the food itself can be crap. Look at your source. Is that really where you want to get your nutrients from?

Trans Fats

Although companies are removing the Trans fats, and many food labels may claim there are no Trans Fats in the product, there may still be some. A product can have up to .5gm of Trans Fats per serving and be allowed to claim that it contains ZERO! If the words “partially-hydrogenated” is on the food label, you can be sure it contains some Trans-Fats. Also, if they’re taking out the Trans-Fats, they’re just adding in another Saturated fat in it’s place.

If Something Claims Something, it has to have this: (but the product can still be bad for you, as above)

  • Low fat – 3 grams fat or less per serving
  • Fat-free – Less than 1/2 gram fat per serving
  • Low sodium – Less than 140 milligrams sodium per serving
  • Low calorie – Less than 40 calories per serving
  • Calorie free – Less than 5 calories per serving
  • Low cholesterol – Less than 20 milligrams cholesterol and 2 grams saturated fat

Other Tidbits

  1. Read serving sizes. Even those little snack bags MAY contain more than 1 serving!
  2. Good Source of fiber: it better have at least 3gms per serving (5gms is better)
  3. The longer the list of ingredients, the more processed it is. Find ones that have 5 ingredients or less. Or don’t buy it.
  4. Reduced fat products will not help you lose weight, especially if fat is replaced with sugar, and the product still contains a lot of calories.

Still Confused? (I don’t blame you)

For a more detailed explanation of How to Read a Food Label, click HERE and HERE

P.S. It’s a lot easier eating something without a food label on it!  So what do you think?

I love hearing from you!

CHRISTINE ARDIGO – Author of Cheating to Survive & Every Five Years

The greatest compliment you can give me is when you share this with others.
I sincerely appreciate it:

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Weight Gain & Loss….Myths & Truths

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Does the number you see on the scale surprise you at times?

There are many factors that affect your number. Could it be a high salt intake? A high carbohydrate intake? Dehydration? Water retention? The fact is, it can be many things, but when is it ever truly fat gain or loss? Although we fixate on the actual number on the scale, we really need to be more concerned with whether or not it’s true, permanent fat loss or gain and not just temporary water retention or Carb bloat.

If you consume too much salt, you body will be signaled to retain water, which will in turn absorb the excess salt and flush it out. Consistent high sodium intake though, slows or even discontinues this natural process causing you to continue to retain water. Marathon runners or heavy exercisers can lose large amounts of weight from fluid losses from sweating, but as soon as they replenish their fluids, their weight returns to normal. When you wake in the morning after not eating or drinking all night, you body is dehydrated, causing you to weigh less in the morning.

Carbohydrates are another biggie. Followers of low-carb diets experience that initial large weight loss the first week of starting the diet. Your body stores excess carbohydrates as glycogen. For every 1 pound of glycogen you store, you store 2-3 pounds of water! When you go on a low carb diet, your body releases all that glycogen to provide you with the needed sugar but then it also releases the extra water as well. You can lose 10 pounds in 1 week from just water! This is also why, when you go off the diet and start eating carbs again, you re-store the glycogen and all the water too. And then you’ll hear people say: “I can’t eat carbs. All I had was a bagel and I gained 5 pounds!”

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If your goal is to lose body fat, the bottom line is for you to be concerned with actual fat loss, not water.

  1. A body fat analyzer machine can best determine your fat, muscle and water composition.
  2. Reduce your sodium intake by decreasing your intake of processed, pre-packaged, canned, and convenience foods, as well as Fast-foods and snacks.
  3. Use an array of spices instead of table salt.
  4. Drink plenty of fluids, and eat 5-9 water-containing fruits and veggies a day.
  5. Reduce your intake of ‘bad’ carbs, such as sodas, desserts, salty snacks, breads, cakes, candy, cookies, etc.
  6. Avoid fat-free products: extra sugar is added to improve the taste

beach

  •  Once you’ve determined that your weight loss is merely water, and only temporary, focus more on steady weekly weight loss that is truly from fat.
  • Keep a food diary and see if you’re truly eating the correct amount of calories.
  • Make sure you’re exercising enough and not eating extra due to the fast that you can because “you just burned off all those calories in the gym.”
  • Normal, healthy weight loss is steady, 1-2 pounds of fat per week, but it takes 3,500 calories to lose 1 pound, therefore you need to eat 500 calories less per day, or exercise off 500 extra calories a day to lose a mere 1 pound a week.

It takes a lot of dedication, but the rewards are priceless in the end.

So, what have you experienced with weight gain/loss?

I love hearing from you!

CHRISTINE ARDIGO – Author of Cheating to Survive & Every Five Years

The greatest compliment you can give me is when you share this with others.
I sincerely appreciate it:

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HIIT: High-Intensity Interval Training. What it is and Why You Should be Doing It

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Photo taken at 12:58 Register for Rugged Maniac at www.ruggedmaniac.com

Trying to Lose Weight By Doing Cardio?

Not getting anywhere fast? Many people that struggle with weight loss spend a lot of time doing cardio. In fact, the Cardio section of my gym is always packed. The problem is how they’re going about it. You rarely see anyone doing HIIT training. Usually it’s a slow walk/jog on the treadmill, or a casual ride on a bike, and a slow pull on the rowing machine. Rather than increase your time that you spend exercising, it’s better to increase intensity, while keeping the time the same.

What is HIIT Training?

HIIT Training is an exercise program alternating periods of short intense exercise periods, with less-intense recovery periods, in which you give all-out, one hundred percent effort through quick, intense bursts of exercise, followed by short, rest periods/sometimes active, recovery periods. This type of training gets and keeps your heart rate up and burns more fat in less time. You can read more about it here:

http://www.sparkpeople.com/resource/fitness_articles.asp?id=621

It consists of a warm up period, followed by 3 to 10 repetitions of a high intensity exercise, separated by slower intensity exercise for recovery, and ending with a cool down. The high intensity exercise should be done at near maximum intensity. The slower one should be about half the intensity.

Most people don’t try it because from across the room it looks so easy: Sprinting for a mere 30 seconds and then walking?  Ha Ha! They laugh. If done correctly, it’s tough and can only be done for a short amount of time. HIIT burns more calories and more fat than the boring, steady rate exercises, for the same length of time!

Ignore those “fat burning” modes on the treadmill. If walking with that little intensity worked, you’d be melting off the fat while walking around the mall! Also, you’ll have an elevated metabolic rate long after the HIIT exercise session is over.

HIIT basically involves going All-Out, as fast as you can possibly go, for 30 seconds, and up to 2 minutes time, and then for 1 to 2 minutes you should slow down and recover.

To give you an example as to why you burn more fat and calories with a faster pace than the slow, ‘fat-burning’ mode, check out this equation:

4444

Let’s say ASHLEY walked on the treadmill in the ‘fat-burning’ mode and burned off 200 calories. The mode tells her she was burning up 85% fat while she worked out. Sounds great, right? Okay, so if you do the math, she burned off 200 calories and 160 of those calories would come from fat. Woo hoo!

Now let’s say AUTUMN did a HIIT training session on the treadmill in the same amount of time, alternating sprinting and walking. She is only burning 65% of fat though, at this high intensity. You laugh at her and say “Ha Ha!” But wait. AUTUMN burned a total of 400 calories and multiply that by the 65% and it works out to 260 FAT calories. Who burned more? Who got a better bang for their workout?

 

HIIT Training Examples

RUNNING
denise1
Start with a warm-up, then when you feel you are ready, sprint all out, as fast as you can, for as long as you can. Stop running, and then walk for a good 1-2 minutes to catch your breath and slow your heart rate back down. D0 this routine again and again.

 

BIKING
colleen
Typically, sitting down decreases the intensity, so you may need to ride longer or increase the tension on the bike. After a warm-up, try to pedal as hard and fast as you can for as long as you can. Then slow down and pedal very slow to catch your breath and slow your heart rate back down. Do this routine again and again. Make sure to cool down when you are finished.

 

SWIMMING
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After a warm-up, swim hard and fast for 25 meters, then swim slowly for another 25 meters. Try to make every swim-sprint a little tougher than the one before. Make sure to rest and cool down once you are finished.

 

WALKING
kasey1
Yes! You can do this with walking as well. After a warm up, walk hard and fast for as long as you can with long strides. If you are doing this on a treadmill, you can increase the elevation to make it tougher. Then, slow your pace and walk slow to recover for 1-2 minutes. Cool down.

The Benefits

You definitely get great results over a short period of time and it will improve your cardiovascular fitness levels. Talk to your doctor first about your capabilities and tailor it to your exercise level. With intense exercise bursts like this, injuries are always possible, so make sure you start slow, and then work your way up. Initially your sprints can be for a mere 5 – 10 seconds, Make sure you have enough rest and recovery after the workout.

Even without HIIT, the higher speeds burn more calories. For instance, did you know:

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Have you ever tried a HIIT workout? What did you think? Will you try one the next time you do cardio? If so, let me know how it goes!
I love hearing from you!

CHRISTINE ARDIGO – Author of Cheating to Survive & Every Five Years

The greatest compliment you can give me is when you share this with others.
I sincerely appreciate it:

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Healthy Eating for the Night Shift (and the Day Shift, too!)

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<a All photos by James Leung

Healthy Eating for the Night Shift (and the day shift too!)

Working the night shift is associated with an increased risk of obesity, CVD, and diabetes due to how your body reacts to sleeping and eating at abnormal times.  Trying to master this schedule is compounded by decreased physical activity, excessive eating, wrong food choices and irregular eating habits, which can then lead to digestive problems.  But no fear, here are some ways to dismiss the thought that: this is just the way it is when you work the night shift!

  1. Drink at least 8 glass of water a day to help improve digestion, and to decrease headaches and fatigue.
  2. Do not continuously drink caffeinated beverages and eat sweets. Although they may initially wake you up, it will only be a short burst of energy and then will lead to a major decrease in energy over time, which in turn will steer you towards having even more caffeine and sugary sweets.  It is hard enough to sleep during the daytime, having too much caffeine in your body can make it even harder.
  3. Eat smaller meals more frequently and include healthy snacks. Larger meals tend to make a person feel sluggish afterward.  Before leaving the house, pack up several small containers or plastic bags with quick snacks you can eat when your shift gets really busy.  Instead of letting 5-6 hours go by without having a chance to eat a meal, having a quick banana, a handful of nuts a part-skim milk cheese stick or even a cup of milk, will only take a minute or two to eat, but keep you going until you do have time to eat.
  4.  Eat within one hour of waking up.  If you normally wake up at 3pm, then have your first meal of the day at 4pm.
  5. To help with controlling your weight, if you’ll be going to sleep shortly after work, make your last meal of your shift the smallest, and eat it around 5am. Do not eat a large meal right before going to sleep.
  6. Try to keep some meal times the same.  i.e: if you normally eat dinner at 6pm, when you have off; then try to eat a meal at 6pm before going to work that night.
  7. Move around!  With the decreased physical activity that can occur during the night shift, one can gain weight.  The next time you are fatigued, walk around the hallways instead of eating.  Not only will this wake you up, but it will burn calories as well.
  8. Include exercise in your 24-hour day.  Try even 30 minutes of exercise before your shift starts or before your children come home from school (and after you have slept well for several hours). Sleeping less than seven hours a night can make you gain more weight over time. Vary cardio, stretching, and weight training. Try exercising during any of your breaks even just for a few minutes.
  9. Buy a soft, but large enough cooler to bring all of your meals and snacks into work with you.  With all the right foods right there in the cooler, you can’t go wrong!

Most importantly: with some planning, and discipline, you can achieve your nutrition and fitness goals.

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Snack Ideas to keep you going

  • Greek yogurt with fresh blueberries
  • 1 apple & 1 piece of low fat string cheese
  • ¼ cup walnuts with fresh pineapple
  • Baby carrots with hummus
  • 1 tbsp almond butter with a half a banana
  • Cut up mango with 1oz pumpkin seeds
  • Hard boiled egg with watermelon wedge
  • ½ cup of Edamame
  • Cantaloupe with 4 whole wheat crackers
  • Fruit kabobs
  • CLIF protein bar

 

Packing a Healthy Cooler

Breakfast ideas:

  • Kashi waffle sandwich with peanut butter and strawberries
  • Whole wheat pita with hard boiled eggs, avocado and salsa
  • Greek yogurt with nuts and mangoes
  • Oatmeal package & a separate bag of berries, nuts, & flaxseed to mix in it
  • Pre-made fruit smoothie with skim milk, whey protein powder, banana, berries, and flaxseed
  • Kashi Go Lean cereal in a plastic container, bring raspberries to mix in
  • Flax Roll-up with hard boiled eggs, low fat cheese, and tomato
  • Pre-made whole grain pancakes with bananas, berries, flaxseed and then top with Greek yogurt once re-heated

Lunch/dinner ideas:

  • Grilled chicken in a Flax Roll-up with avocado, spinach, walnuts & dried cranberries
  • Whole wheat English muffin with low fat cheese, tomato, with red pepper strips on the side
  • Spinach salad with salmon in a pouch, peppers, tomatoes, carrots, mushrooms, mandarin oranges, and almonds
  • Quinoa salad with black beans, cherry tomatoes, scallions, cooked broccoli

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Instead of leaving the house with just a cup of coffee try this:

Mocha Protein Shake

1-cup skim milk

1/3 cup brewed coffee

1 tbsp natural peanut butter

1 banana

1 scoop chocolate flavored Whey Protein powder

Mix all in a blender, enjoy!

 

What is your favorite way to combat weight gain at work?
I love hearing from you!

CHRISTINE ARDIGO – Author of Cheating to Survive & Every Five Years

The greatest compliment you can give me is when you share this with others.
I sincerely appreciate it:

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